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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Save Our Children - Stop Human Trafficking!

Do you know the universal hand signal for “I’m in trouble, I need help?” (pictured above)

We all should know it and teach it to our children and grandchildren, share it. This hand signal signifies “I’m trapped, I need help.” It was released in Canada for women who might need help on Tiktok at the start of the Covid pandemic when worries about domestic abuse increased so rapidly, it went viral to 28 countries around the world. (see Canadian Women's Foundation)

A girl from North Carolina who was kidnapped was saved last week because she used it in the car window and another person recognized the signal and called the police, then they followed the car until the police could intercept them. (The police there had never heard of the signal).

“Human Trafficking is happening within 1 km of where you live.”

I did not want to believe this statement, probably I was more “no way” in my attitude and thinking.

I had the privilege of sitting in and watching the online launch of the Joy Smith Foundation’s new Canada National Human Trafficking Education Center presentation.

Here is an excerpt from their main page:

“Human trafficking is happening in cities and towns across our country. Every day, at-risk youth and adults are manipulated and forced to participate in the sex trade or labour market. What starts as a seemingly innocent conversation online or in real life can quickly turn into something sinister that affects lives forever. It can happen anywhere at anytime. Less than a kilometre from where you live today, someone is being trafficked.”

We are talking here about children. Our children. Our teenagers. Our families. If this thought does not send alarm bells ringing in your heart, there is something wrong.

Many people think Human Trafficking is a thing that happens in other countries, perhaps other neighbourhoods and most definitely to other families. You could not be further from the truth.

Does your child have access to the internet? Do you have a filter, or blocking system in place so you can see where they are navigating and what they are seeing and especially who they are talking to? Predators are waiting for them, stalking them.

The average age of human trafficking in Canada is 12. This is the average, so children could be younger and older. These are not adults who can give consent, they are children, vulnerable and defenseless against vicious predators.

Did you know that one victim, one child can potentially earn a trafficker on average about $280,000 per year? Child exploitation and trafficking is the fastest growing “industry” in our country but also in the world. How totally sick!

Did you know that this is totally preventable? We can and have to stop it!

Education is the most efficient way to stop this horrific abuse of our children. In Canada, we think this is not happening, what a way for traffickers to get away with this, because we do not believe it. BELIEVE IT!

Joy Smith was a schoolteacher, mother of 6 and wanted to do some seminars on how to prevent our children from sexual predators. She was surprised when a couple of survivors showed up to her seminars. They were a couple of young girls (12ish) who showed their tattoos of ownership. One had a tattoo on her arm that identified her as “Larry’s” (bogus name) property and the other had a tattoo on her neck identifying her as this other guy’s property. This was before there were any laws in Canada protecting victims from human traffickers. The laws did not exist prior to 2000, the court said that because money was involved this implied consent. Money = consent. Not the fact that our children were forced to comply or else face violence, abuse or even death.

The other thing the victim’s kept repeating was that no one believed them. Even the police and not the justice department. Joy Smith believed them.

One of Joy’s sons joined the police force and ended up on ICE. Integrated Child Exploitation Unit. She watched her son’s hair turn white overnight because of the horrific things he saw and that no child should ever have to endure.

Joy decided that she would run for politics and eventually made her way into the House of Commons where she was instrumental in passing 2 laws Bill C-268 and Bill C-310 to ensure Human Trafficking was a punishable crime.

In the launch video of the Educational Center Joy explained that even in Parliament while trying to pass these laws she was heckled and mocked because certainly this was not an issue in Canada. It took a few brave survivors to come forward in Parliament and tell their stories before our government representatives when finally some understood that this was a huge issue. The laws passed.

What can you do?

1) Watch the launch video of the Joy Smith National Human Trafficking Education Center

2) Sign up to watch FREE informational videos and share them, especially with your children

3) Do not turn a blind eye if you think a child or youth is in trouble

4) Keep a vigilant watch for people who are stalking our children

5) Get involved in this issue. If we talked about this issue like we talked about Covid – it would make a huge dent in this industry, yes it is an industry. It has been a silent issue – let’s make it public!

I know several families that have been touched because of this issue. People I personally know, I am aware that this is a real issue. Sadly, the police are finding that the justice system is not helping in the stop of these predators. If we think the police and the courts will make this problem go away, think again. This issue destroys people, they are traumatized physically, mentally, and spiritually. Life is never the same. BUT there is hope and we can offer it!

Human Trafficking and child abuse and pornography are way too prevalent in our society, and it is NOT OKAY. Never will be.

Here are a couple of the free video titles on the Educational Center’s website:

1) What Parents Need to Know About Human Trafficking

2) What Students Need to Know About Human Trafficking (grades K-5)

3) What Students Need to Know About Human Trafficking (grades 6-8)

4) What Students Need to Know About Human Trafficking (grades 9-12)

It takes a nation to stop Human Trafficking. It takes you and me to stand up to Human Trafficking. 93% of Canadian Human Trafficking Victims are Canadian.

Paul Brandt the country singer promotes a movement called the “Not In My City Movement”. How great would it be if we all took up that challenge and did what we could to stamp our Human Trafficking in our towns and nation!

Link to Joy Smith Foundation:

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